Amazon is now accepting pre-tax health spending accounts in the form of health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible savings accounts (FSA), providing users with discounts for hundreds of everyday health items ranging from glucometers to fever strips.
The retailer told CNBC March 15 it was “excited to announce” the change, which allows users with health insurance to set aside a portion of their salaries before taxes to cover medical expenses that would otherwise be paid for out-of-pocket. According to the Amazon spokesperson, using HSA and FSA debit cards for eligible Amazon purchases eliminates the need to pay out-of-pocket or submit any receipts for reimbursement.
Some of the products eligible for HSA and FSA payment include:
- Insulin pens
- Blood glucose monitors
- Blood pressure kits
- Over-the-counter contraceptives, like condoms
- First aid supplies
- IV equipment
- Cholesterol meters
- Ultrasound devices
A full list of eligible products can be found here.
Since over-the-counter medications require a prescription to be HSA or FSA eligible, Amazon said the new program doesn’t support such purchases. However, users who do want to buy over-the-counter drugs on the platform can do so—just not with an HSA or FSA card. Amazon suggested people who opt to pay out-of-pocket request reimbursement from their insurance company.
Prescription drug services aren’t currently integrated into the HSA/FSA program, but Amazon did acquire online pharmacy company PillPack last summer.
In an article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, consumer expert Clark Howard said having the option to divert money tax-free “is really powerful,” and the people who might benefit the most from an HSA or FSA are those with the highest income.
“Unfortunately, only one in five people who are eligible to do an FSA through their employer actually do it,” he told the AJC. “But more people should, because you get to pay for medical expenses with pre-tax dollars instead of post-tax dollars.”
The health FSA contribution for 2019 is $2,700, according to the IRS—a $50 increase over last year’s limit. For an HSA, the limit is $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for families.